Uh, okay. This is working.

Today marked the end of my third week of coach-assisted basebuilding. I’m officially convinced that working with a coach was the right thing to do.

I’ll post my usual recap of the week’s training tomorrow morning, but I wanted to post about a few things specifically.

I’ll start by saying that I was initially a little worried when I saw the plan Kevin gave me. I knew I could handle the workload, but it seemed a bit intense for just the basebuilding phase. Specifically, it looked more like marathon training, not basebuilding. I no longer feel that way after having spent three weeks easily being able to handle the buildup in mileage and doing three hard runs a week.

Dang. This really works. Witness:

  • My resting heart rate has dropped from 48-50 to 46. You can’t argue with that.
  • My recovery runs are getting faster with no change in effort.
  • I am hitting my paces for all faster sessions. Don’t get me wrong — they are not easy. But they are doable.
  • The dreaded 3:00AM DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) has been minimal.
  • I feel recovered and ready for each hard session.

But today’s run is the one that sold me. It was the last run of an 80 mile week and one that I’d been, well, not dreading, but ruminating about during the latter part of the week: 18 miles “steady” pace, which translates into an 8:15 pace (or about 90% marathon effort). That is a long way to run at that effort.

To prepare, I did a two day mini carbohydrate load (not a ton, but basically making sure I had enough stored away) and made sure I was well hydrated. I also took care to get adequate sleep.

I did a leisurely warmup for the first three miles (9:17, 8:53, 8:27). Then I got down to work. For the next six miles I average 8:11. Then I backed off for two miles (hills and headwind), running around 8:25 each — I also took in some carbohydrates at mile 10, which gave me a lift shortly thereafter. Then I ran the next seven miles at an average 8:07 pace, finishing up with an extra half mile for which I motored along at 7:48.

I felt great during the entire run, despite brisk, shifting winds and a face full of snow in the last two miles, and had no problem picking up the pace. Despite the slow early miles, my average pace for the run was 8:17. Pretty much right on the nose.

Side note: In addition to having a great run, I also was a good Samaritan today. As I was pausing at my car at mile 10 I witnessed a woman take the paint off the side of a Volvo with her Mercedes SUV during a botched parking attempt. She proceeded to park in another space about 30 feet away. I waited to see if she would post anything to the windshield of the car she’d just done significant damage to. Not surprisingly (but no less appallingly), she didn’t, although I did notice her take the time to see what the damage was to her own car (minimal). So I posted her  make, model and license plate number to the damaged car myself. I’ve had damage done to my car by people like this and it really pisses me off.